US GP this weekend


The American F1 GP is being held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas. Unfortunately, with the time differential between Texas and Thailand, the Grand Prix is telecast here at the uncivilized time of 1.10 a.m. Yes, one in the morning, so I, like you, will be consulting the internet after arising on the Monday.

The Americans have gone the way of Singapore, making the weekend an “event”. See the world’s most sophisticated and glamorous motorsport, smell the tire smoke, taste the cuisine of Austin, TX, hear the roar of the crowd, and feel the exhilaration that can only be found at the U.S. home of Formula 1.” (I was expecting to read “the roar of the grease paint and the smell of the crowd” but no, but everything else, including Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder, who hasn’t seen a GP yet.)

The circuit is 5.5 km long and is made up of twenty turns with an elevation change of 41 m. According to COTA, the final plan of the circuit was released on September 1, 2010, showing a design inspired by the European tradition of sculpting the circuit to the contours of the land. The design draws from several European F1 circuits, including a recreation of Silverstone’s Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel sequence, Hockenheim’s arena bends, and a replica of Istanbul’s Turn Eight. Other corners were loosely inspired by the Senna ‘S’ at Interlagos and the Österreichring’s Sebring-Auspuffkurve. A feature of the circuit is a deliberate widening of corners, to encourage drivers to follow multiple racing lines, which did seem to work in last year’s GP.

From the start line, the cars will climb to the first corner – the highest point of the circuit – with the apex of the corner positioned on the crest of the hill. They will descend back down the hill to navigate a series of fast sweepers and through a blind corner at Turn 10, taking them to the far end of the circuit and a hairpin at Turn 11. The cars will then follow a one km straight back towards the pit and paddock area before entering the final sector of the lap and weaving through a series of corners modeled on Hockenheim’s stadium section. This will be followed by a downhill, multi-apex corner with limited run-off before the final two corners of the circuit, a pair of left-hand bends that return the cars to the main straight.

Despite influences by Herr Tilke, the circuit did see passing last year, so this year with Hamilton (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari) and the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo could produce some excitement. Just such a pity the telecast isn’t till 1 a.m.

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) only needs to win this GP and Vettel (Ferrari) come anywhere from third downwards, to make the 2018 World Driving Championship his fifth.